I have been going back and forth for the better part of a week on what I wanted to say AND if I even wanted to say anything about the tragedies that are being played out in the world right now. My heart is completely broken from the losses that have taken place over the past three months when it comes to people of color. It is not something that is new, it is not the first time that something like this has happened, and it is no different than what has been happening behind “closed doors” for years and years; it’s just this time, it hit my spirit just a little different. Since February we have heard of the murder of Ahmad Arbury, the murder of Brionna Taylor, and the murder of George Floyd. Notice I say murder, because let’s not beat around the bush, it WAS murder. Those people look like me, those people COULD be me. Along side of these murders there was the attempted murder of Christian Cooper, and yes I said attempted murder, by Amy Cooper in the park in NYC when you called the police and made a false report against a black man solely because he ask her to put her dog on a leash. (Follow the rules). She purposefully used language that would ensure the police would come and Christian would be seen as the person in the wrong.
In America, we have a history of white women blaming black men for a heinous crimes they are innocent of, and these men’s lives are either ruined or they are killed. Here’s a few examples if you would like to look them up for reference:
- The Scottsboro Boys (1931) Nine young men were falsely accused of raping two white women on a train. Eight out of nine were initially sentenced to death. There was NO medical evidence that the rape even happened. In 2013 the men were pardoned or had their convictions overturned.
- Emmett Till (1955) He was a 14 year old boy and he was beaten, shot, and then thrown into the river tied to a cotton gin. All of this was done to him because he supposedly flirted with a white woman in Mississippi. His murderers were acquited.
- The Central Park 5 (1989) These five young men had their lives ruined because a white woman was attacked and raped in Central Park. The young men were forced into confession and all served time for a crime that not one of them committed.
Can we now see why I make such a bold statement, and I stand by it.
While America was stuck in their homes due to this pandemic that is ravaging the world we had no choice but to watch tv or scroll through social media and the internet, and whilst mindlessly scrolling and flipping, we were all confronted with a very harsh reality: RACISM IS ALIVE AND WELL AND IT IS IN OUR FACES BECAUSE IT IS BEING FILMED AND POSTED. If you own a cell phone or a television there is no way to avoid the reality of what has happened these past few months, three people were murdered and we sat back and watched it happen. We LITERALLY saw Ahmad get hunted down by 3 white men and shot in the middle of the day. We watched as a cop knelt on the neck of George Floyd, his hands in his pockets, while he begged for his life and pleaded for air. We watched horrified. We cried because simply put, that could be any of us. That was the last straw.
Black people stood up and said ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! You can’t keep killing us and getting away with it. We live in this country the same as any other person. We supposedly have the same rights as any other American, so why are we treated differently. Why do we have to be afraid to be pulled over by the police. Why do we have to fear driving through certain cities and towns. We want to have to same the same freedoms as our white brothers and sisters.
Two sides have erupted out of what has happened here in America. There are the people who are truly racist and now are free to show their true colors to all of us because they are defending their “rights,” and then there are those who choose to align themselves with black and brown people and say, “I hear you,” “I see you,” “I want to stand with you,” “I love you.” It has been great to see non-black people become just as passionate about equality and march side by side in protest. This is not something that we saw during the Civil Rights Movement, and it is a BIG step in the right direction.
What perplexes me are the people who REFUSE to acknowledge there is an issue. I become shocked and even confused when I hear non-black people say, I didn’t know racism was still an issue OR I want to understand what your struggles are. What this tells me is your circle does not consist of anyone that looks different than you do. OR maybe you have your token black friend, Hispanic friend, Asian friend, so you can check off the box that says I have a diverse set of friends. When that is the case, it is easy to not see the inequalities in the world. NOW that the world is in an uproar because black and brown people are saying OUR LIVES MATTER, BLACK LIVES MATTER, everyone all of a sudden has an opinion. NOW people are asking to be educated. Let’s get something clear, YOU CHOSE TO KEEP YOUR HEAD BURIED IN THE SAND. It’s time to chose a side. What side are you going to stand on? The side that says, no this is not a race issue, stop trying to make everything about race. OR are you going to say, YES there is a systemic issue that needs to be fixed and I see your tears, I hear your cries.
Segregation did not end in the 60s and 70s, we are still fighting today to be treated the same; to be afforded the same benefits as any other person born or naturalized in this country. It is up to each and everyone of us to work to make positive changes. We have to stop pointing fingers at each other and try to understand one another. If I am honest, I find it ridiculous that my Mom, my Aunt’s and Uncles, and cousins are having to live through this racial discord again, but maybe this time is will stick. Maybe this time people won’t just talk about that change, but actually facilitate it. I pray that 2020 will be the year that changes EVERYTHING and the next generation can truly live in a world where they are indeed judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin.
I am tired of being scared of being pulled over by the police. I am tired of seeing my brothers and sisters struggling to have the same opportunities as their white counterparts. I am just tired. WE have to do better.